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Militarized CurrentsToward a Decolonized Future in Asia and the Pacific$
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Setsu Shigematsu and Keith L. Camacho

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665051

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665051.001.0001

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Why Have the Japanese Self-Defense Forces Included Women?

Why Have the Japanese Self-Defense Forces Included Women?

The State’s “Nonfeminist Reasons”

(p.251) 11 Why Have the Japanese Self-Defense Forces Included Women?
Militarized Currents

Fumika Sato

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines how and why women have been incorporated into the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) from the 1950s to the present. It argues that the feminization of the SDF through its incorporation of women is motivated not by feminist reasons, but that the institutional logic remains heterosexist. The chapter first charts the history of the SDF in the context of Japan’s defeat in World War II and its subsequent formal demilitarization. It then discusses the incorporation of women into the SDF within the context of feminism and emphasizes the important role played by women in the militarization of postwar Japan. It also demonstrates how the feminization of the marketing of the SDF works to create the image of the Japanese military as “peace-makers.” Finally, it provides a counterpoint for considering the significant difference in Japanese feminist responses to women’s incorporation in the military compared to U.S. liberal feminist arguments for women’s equal treatment and opportunity in the military.

Keywords:   women, Japanese Self-Defense Forces, feminization, Japan, World War II, demilitarization, feminism, militarization, military

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